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Opinion

Gordon Brown to the rescue?

14 Aug 2022 5 minute read
Gordon Brown. Picture by World Economic Forum (CC BY-SA 2.0).

Ben Wildsmith

Do you fancy having a bash at running the country? I only ask because none of the people supposedly in with a shot at doing so seem to have the remotest interest.

Obviously, we have the corpse of Boris attending to matters of state with characteristically selfless devotion to public service, but you would think his potential successors would be champing at the bit to impose their political vision on our beleaguered nation; cometh the hour, cometh the…

Oh my God, is that Gordon Brown? He’s still sentient? I’d assumed he’d be imposing a fiscal rule on the bingo sessions in a Kirkaldy home for the bewildered by now.

But no, as we stare down the barrels of utter financial ruin, the brooding son of the manse has emerged as the only politico with a plan to address the forthcoming hike in the energy cap. Here’s the plan:

Don’t have a hike in the energy cap.

Now, I don’t know about you, but I find the clarity of purpose in this plan rather attractive. ‘B..b..but, who will pay for all the expensive gas and leccy?’ demanded the nodding dogs that comprise the broadcast media.

Here’s where ‘Mr Fiscal Responsibility’ went rogue. It turns out that we can, I’m almost afraid to say this out loud, force the energy companies and their shareholders to pay for our grannies not freezing to death.

And, criminy, if the energy companies go bust we can (foreboding music)…nationalise them.

Now, I know this might come as a shock.

For forty years, including those when Mr Brown was in government, we have filed to the ballot box murmuring the sacred mantra: ‘Private legs good; public legs bad.’

But apparently, back in the mists of time, before Richard Branson had supplanted Hippocrates as a healthcare influencer, there used to be a quaint tradition whereby matters of life and death for the public were decided by elected representatives rather than board meetings.

It might be a little late in the day for Mr. Brown to be coming on like Nye Bevan, but at least he’s having a go, isn’t he?

And that’s more than can be said of any other relevant political voices at the moment.

Intellectual ballast

Where, you might wonder, is Michael Gove?

He’s not given to long periods of polite silence, is he?

Similarly, when was the last time you went so long without the sweet music of Jess Phillips’s profound utterances on national life? Cat got your tongue, Bab?

Paging Nigel Farage…Mr Farage, can you hear us here in the country you love so dearly?

Sorry to interrupt when you are so deeply ensconced in Donald Trump’s fundament, but the post-Brexit masses are in dire need of a dose of sovereignty in their pay-as-you-go meters, any ideas? No?

John McDonnell spent 10 years producing alternative budgets to chivvy up Gordon Brown.

Now is your moment, John! You are freed from the admittedly demanding role of lending intellectual ballast to Jeremy Corbyn, so speak up.

Even the king of unwelcome advice, Tony Blair, seems absent from the fray. With the regularity of a wooden bird in a Swiss clock, he emerges to instruct us all, in that peculiar, peevish manner he has developed, to conform to his particular brand of common sense.

Convinced of his normality, he generally can’t restrain himself from appearing on TV to order us all to become poorer or go to war with somewhere we’ve barely heard of.

He’s sitting this one out, though. Doesn’t want to impose.

Magic money tree

Which leaves us with the three characters who actually hold some influence.

Sirkieth has been having a good think and will release his fully costed plan on Monday.

He’s trailed this with a proposal for pre-payment meters which will save people £46 per year.

My suspicion is that Brown’s intervention will force the under-seasoned tin of luncheon meat to embolden whatever he had planned, but his predisposition seems to veer from caution to cowardice, so don’t expect too much.

Ready4Rishi might actually throw you a few quid.

He’s had a good shake of the Magic Money Tree during Covid and is so blithely unaware of consequence that he’s constructing a £400k swimming pool and hang what anyone says. Threaten him with a payment strike and he’ll pay your bills in a heartbeat.

But it’s the surgical appliance to whom we must look in reality.

For Liz, proud Yorkshirewoman and pork marketeer any direct help for you as a consumer of private energy companies is a ‘handout’.

If you are a little colder this winter, you should be warmed by the knowledge that profits won’t be jeopardised on her watch.

Only they will. Because when this pantomime leadership contest is over and a chill is in the air, she’ll no longer be beholden to Conservative members but to you and me.

I don’t know about you, but I get a bit testy if I’m cold for prolonged periods of time and my mood isn’t generally soothed by lectures on Thatcherite doctrine.

I’ll bet you my hot water bottle that, eventually, Gordon Brown’s solution will be adopted.


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3 Comments
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I Humphrys
I Humphrys
1 month ago

What country?

David
David
1 month ago

Still waiting for Gordon Brown to deliver “The Vow” to Scotland.

Quornby
Quornby
1 month ago

Brown? Who he?

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